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'''Bedřich Smetana''' (; 2 March 1824 – 12 May 1884) was a Czechs|Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Music of the Czech Lands|Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera ''The Bartered Bride''; for the symphonic cycle ''Má vlast'' ("My Homeland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native land; and for his String Quartet No. 1 (Smetana)|First String Quartet, ''From My Life''. Smetana was naturally gifted as a pianist, and gave his first public performance at the age of six. After his conventional schooling, he studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague. His first nationalistic music was...
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